The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Pets of Harvard: Piper the Cat

Piper 1
If you knock on the right door in Wigglesworth H Entryway, you just might be greeted by entryway proctor Kasey Hamel ’14 and her colorpoint cat Piper. Piper is a ragdoll cat, a variety known to go limp when you pick them up and hold them in your arms, almost like a newborn baby. Hamel, a proctor and physician assistant by profession, simply adores Piper, and says, “I would describe our relationship as perfect.”

Although Hamel grew up in a pet-friendly home — her family had three dogs and two cats at one point — she recalls her sometimes lonely years as a College student, as she missed the feeling of a dog or cat in her lap. She consequently vowed to get a cat after graduation. Kasey Hamel and her husband Tom Hamel ’14 got Piper from a breeder a couple of years ago. "It was the best day of my life," she smiles. Piper’s birthday is Cinco de Mayo, and she is now two years old.

Piper 3
While Piper may be adorable, she can still get into trouble. When she was a young kitten, Piper jumped into the toilet, very much by accident. “She had this thing that she liked to sit on top of the toilet while I would shower,” Hamel explains. One day, the seat was left up, and Piper leapt up to her normal perch only to get drenched in toilet water. “I had to pick her up and hold her up like Simba in the shower to wash her off,” Hamel laughs, recalling how shocked the two of them were at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. on a workday.

“Piper is the love of my life,” confesses Hamel. "When I'm home, we are always together. She loves to cuddle up on my chest and purr, she's always following me around.” However, Piper has a slightly more playful relationship with Tom. “She's always bugging him and stealing his seat,” Hamel laughs. Piper also devotedly waits next to the door for him to come home every night. She often tries to take chicken off their plates if Kasey and Tom decide to eat on the couch.

Piper 2
Piper’s favorite toys are her fish taco squeaky and a laser pointer. Piper is a fairly social cat, though she is more of a home-body and thus doesn’t have too many pet friends. One of her close friends is Basil the guinea pig who lived in Weld until last semester with a former proctor. At one point, Hamel babysat Basil, and while it took a little bit of time for the two pets to warm up to one another, Piper was sad when Basil went home. “I was keeping Basil in the bathroom, and when I got home from work Piper would be outside the bathroom ready to go say hi to Basil, and she did that for a few days after Basil left,” Hamel recounts.

Next time you walk down Massachusetts Avenue, take a glance Yardside to catch a small ragdoll cat people-watching on the busy street. "I also think she's a big JP Lick's fan,” Hamel quips. Alternatively, keep an eye out for Piper sitting in the kitchen window of her Wigglesworth H room, overlooking the Yard. Indeed, one day another proctor noticed Piper meowing amicably at tourists, who were talking back at her and took pictures of her. “I like to think there's some tourist blog that she's famous on somewhere, like the Cat of Harvard Yard," Hamel laughs.

Piper 4
Despite self-admittedly having more 2000 photos of Piper on her smartphone — a “‘cat’alogue”, so to speak — Hamel has no plans of starting an Instagram account for Piper as “she's too special to release publicly.” Holding office hours, however, is not off the table. "I mean, for the students, yes. If there are some true cat fans out there, I could not deprive them of Piper,” Hamel says.

Piper is, by no means whatsoever, Kasey’s pet peeve. "Everything about her is perfect. She's a model cat: easy, breezy and beautiful."

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Pets of Harvard: Jerry

Jerry 2
Sometimes, visitors to the west side of the Science Center’s fourth floor are greeted not by the Biology offices or Statistics help sessions they came looking for, but by a shrill series of yaps — compliments of a very small and energetic dog named Jerry. Jerry, a nine-year-old Chihuahua, comes to the Science Center a few days a week with Life Sciences 1b: “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution” preceptor Annie S. Park.

Park says that when she adopted him seven years ago, Jerry was several pounds heavier than his current weight, a nontrivial difference since Jerry is already so light. According to Park, Jerry didn’t have much of a neck or waist and resembled a “fat sausage.” Losing a few pounds since then has helped Jerry get to a healthier weight for his legs and joints to support. Good for you, Jerry!

Jerry 1
Park loves that meeting or even walking past Jerry “brings out the side of people you normally don’t get to see,” like when he’s able to elicit high-pitched “awwww”s from tall, powerful-looking athletes. Jerry is small enough that people passing by often don’t see him until they get pretty close, so suddenly noticing him is always an exciting surprise.

Jerry can get nervous around strangers, but on the whole absolutely loves attention. In particular, he enjoys groups of “adoring fans.” If Park lets him out at the front of the lecture hall before class, students will come up to meet him, which Jerry thinks is “the best thing ever.”

“He likes prancing and playing with his toy,” Park says. “It’s really funny to watch.”

Jerry 3
Toys, of course, are an important part of Jerry’s life. He’s never without one, meaning that if Park doesn’t bring one for him, he’ll find something like a stick, fall in love with it, and take it home with him. Jerry isn’t picky about toys at all, and similarly, he’s very willing to try new foods. He enjoys fruits, carrots, and other typical dog-friendly human foods, and will “eat anything, honestly,” including odd foods like cilantro.

Park also said Jerry has made progress with his socialization over the years.

“When I got him he was extremely unfriendly, extremely unsocialized. And so, like, the first time I took him outside, he was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and would not walk.”

Jerry 4
Jerry has come a long way, Park said. He can still get shy or even territorial around strangers, but opens up and is good at remembering people.

“He has a really big personality at home when he's comfortable,” she said. “It makes me sad that not everyone can see that side of him where he's just, like, rolling around in bed. Like, you know, this crazy little guy.”

Jerry is still learning to get along with other dogs, but Park proudly reports that he has made one dog friend, a small Maltese that he plays with.

One of her favorite things about Jerry is that he “always gives, like, 110 percent to everything he does,” Park says. “He's that guy that like, really tries as hard as he can at everything. So if he's like, ‘I need to drink water,’ he will go drink water and drink water as hard as he can.”

Jerry 5
When Flyby met Jerry, he was stylishly dressed in a green striped sweater. He looked so good that it was shocking to learn that he hates outfits and will run away when Park holds one up to put on. The outfits are necessary for Jerry to “be happy and still play outdoors.” He loses heat so easily that even 75 degree weather can be chilly for him. According to Park, one of Jerry’s best looks is an outfit made of fluffy sherpa material, which has bear ears attached to the hood.

Park would like to get a Halloween costume for Jerry, but has struggled in the past with finding costumes small enough for him. Given her choice of well-fitting costumes, she thinks Jerry would be excellent in a spider costume where the extra legs flopped around every time he runs.

You can follow Jerry on Instagram @jerrythetinypooch.

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Jerry 6

Pets of Harvard: Tiki

Tiki 3
Kirkland House is famous for its furry residents, and Tiki, the absurdly cute, eight-month-old service dog of Nikki Daurio ’20, is no exception. After seriously contemplating suicide last year, Daurio took a year off from Harvard, and this year she says she can “see how much healthier I am.” Daurio credits herself for getting healthy through her treatment, but says that Tiki has been invaluable to her. Daurio says of Tiki, “Harvard is a completely different place with her. I don’t understand how I went through three years at Harvard without her.”

Daurio got Tiki from a goldendoodle service dog breeder, Cali Pals Service Dogs. For the first two months of her life, Tiki was exposed to all sorts of environments, including a construction site at seven weeks old. She then completed a month of non-service dog obedience training before Daurio got her in May. The pair continued working on obedience training until Tiki was four months old, after which they underwent service dog training at Orange County Service Dogs three times a week.

Tiki 1
Daurio and Tiki trained for around six hours a day all summer using a variety of methods. Daurio says that it’s hard because “you’re treating this dog as medical equipment” and yet “they’re also a puppy.” She says that service dogs “still have off days. We continue our training every day.”

Tiki was almost named Waves, as Daurio feels a deep connection to the ocean. By the time Daurio got her, Tiki had already been trained to respond to her given name, Kiki. Daurio decided to keep the same sound, and named her Tiki for its association with the tiki torch in “Survivor” and its relation to the beach.

Daurio is impressed by the dual roles of service dogs, noting “On and off-vest, it’s like two different dogs. When she has her vest on, she knows she’s working.” However, when the vest come off, “she likes to remind me that she’s a puppy.” Even with all of her skill and training, Tiki hasn’t mastered drinking water without submerging her entire face. “That’s why she has a permanent mustache,” laughs Daurio.

Tiki 2
Tiki and Nikki!
So what’s the difference between service dogs and emotional support animals? Daurio explains that essentially, “there are three main categories: a therapy dog, emotional support animal, and service dog.” While service dogs have specific tasks they are trained to perform to help one individual with a disability, neither emotional support or therapy dogs are task trained. “Therapy dogs are meant for many people,” Daurio says. Like service dogs, “emotional support animals are meant for one person, however, they are not task-trained.” Only service dogs have public-access rights, but emotional support animals can fly and live in no-pets buildings.

Tiki has three tasks: deep pressure therapy, interrupting signs of self-harming behavior, and providing a brace to help Daurio if she needs help getting up or feels like she’s going to pass out. To ensure that she is fully capable of doing her job while she is working, Tiki needs clear boundaries on what behavior is and is not acceptable. For example, she is only allowed to play with dogs in a designated space at designated times. Tiki won’t be considered fully trained until two years old, and even then the training will continue.

{image id=1341518 size=medium align=right caption=false" byline=true}When asked about what it’s like living with a service dog, especially as a student, Daurio admits, “It’s not a privilege to have a service dog. It’s really annoying.” She says “if I didn’t need a service dog, I would love to not have a dog with me everywhere I go.” But Daurio can’t speak highly enough of Tiki. “She works so hard. That’s another thing that’s hard about having a dog at school: They work so hard that it’s hard to correct bad behavior when they’re off-duty.”

As for how people should treat service dogs in public, Daurio says, “don’t stare at them. If they’re putting effort and energy into not paying attention to you, that takes away from them doing their job.” While dogs are cute and it’s easy to get excited every time you see one, Daurio says, “I hope that people reading this article, when they see a service dog in public, they just ignore it.”

Tiki 5
Tiki and Nikki with Captain America!
There are two moments that Daurio points to that stick out of her memories with Tiki. The first is when, at five months old, Tiki was “incredible” at Disneyland. “It showed me that I can live a life with a service dog, and she’s amazing. I love her so much.” The second is “the first time she tasked without me training it, I was crying, and she jumped up and interrupted. And in that moment I was like, this is my dog. This is my service dog, and we’re gonna be together forever.”

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Pets of Harvard: Piper The Dog

Piper Dog 3
For most of her life, Pforzheimer House Faculty Dean Professor Anne Harrington had only had rescue dogs in her household. So when her then-10-year-old son Ben insisted that “the only thing he wanted in the world was a dog,'' Harrington's first reaction was to Google rescue centers. “She came from Tennessee with a whole bunch of other dogs in an 18-wheeler, and we ended up picking her up in a parking lot in Connecticut,” Harrington recalls. “It was around Christmas time, and so the guy who was bringing up all the dogs had put on a Santa Claus hat.” Though the other dogs were on leashes, he had to carry Piper in his arms and give her over directly to Harrington and her son because the puppy was so small.

In addition to being a happy moment for the family, Piper’s arrival was also celebrated by students and tutors. “I had sent a notice out to the Pfoho students that we were arriving with a puppy, and there was a whole crowd of students waiting,” Harrington remembers. “She was this adorable little puppy and her first introduction to life here was being surrounded by a big crowd of students who really missed their pets.”

Piper Dog 1
Piper, who is half-Labrador and half a mystery breed, made her debut on the silver screen just three months after she was adopted as the star of the 2015 Quad-wide Housing Day Quadweiser video. Inspired by the popular Budweiser Lost Dog Super Bowl advertisement, Young Piper accidentally boards the Quad shuttle and gets stranded along the River where she is rescued from the menacing Mather lion by all the Quad mascots. Professor Harrington described the experience as fun. “You have a 3-4 month old puppy and you're trying to get them to listen to stage commands,” she laughed. “That year, she was kind of a celebrity. We brought her down to the Yard for Housing Day and people said, oh, that's the puppy!”

Though Piper is “primarily a family dog,” Harrington stressed that Piper has an important place in the Pfoho community. Indeed, many students have dog therapy time with her, some even taking Piper up to their dorms for company while studying. Piper also has her own page on the House website. “I know when I've gone into the weight room there's a sign somebody put up with Piper looking straight at you saying, ‘Piper says put your weights back on the shelves where they belong’,” Harrington recalls. One of Harrington’s favorite aspects about Piper is that “she's not exclusive; she has room in her heart to care about students.”

Unfortunately, Piper is currently recovering from a slight injury she got from chasing a rabbit on the Quad lawn, and thus cannot swim, race the other Quad dogs, or take early morning walks in Raymond Park as she usually does. However, Piper’s naughty side includes begging for food. “She has unfortunately developed the habit of looking incredibly adorably wistful and insisting that she's starving to death,” Harrington laments. “She won't steal, but she will pretend to look pathetic.”

Piper Dog 2
Can you say no to those eyes and that waggily tail? Didn't think so.
Piper is currently five years old, and is very much a New England dog despite being born in Tennessee. She loves the snow, and Harrington adds that “she's also a real water dog. One of her favorite things to do is to go over to Fresh Pond, which is about 3/4 of a mile from here, and that’s a pond dogs are allowed to swim in. She'd spend hours there if we'd let her.”

Harrington can’t pinpoint a favorite memory she has of Piper, but instead smiles at her dog for a moment as Piper wrestles with her favorite toy, a stuffed log with hidden chipmunks, before picking, “Seeing her in the water. She adores it and she's so happy. She actually really smiles, and you can tell when she's happy. Those are happy memories.”

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Pets of Harvard: Bailey

Bailey 1
If you’ve ever visited the Leverett Towers and witnessed a lovable brown dog racing across the courtyard, you’ve probably seen Bailey, a sweet Belgian Malinois owned by a resident tutor in Leverett G Tower, Victoria M. Martin.

Originally from a breeder in Atlanta, Bailey was given to Martin as a birthday present 10 years ago. Since then, Bailey has grown from a small puppy to the fully grown dog she is today, and has also grown to be a part of the Martin family. When Martin moved to Cambridge three years ago, she brought Bailey with her. According to Martin, Belgian Malinois like Bailey are a unique breed possessing both high intelligence and remarkable emotional flexibility, meaning they can switch between work and play modes easily. In fact, Martin says that Belgian Malinois are commonly used in police forces, airports, and even the military.

Bailey with Toy
While Bailey may not be working a nine-to-five job like some Belgian Malinois, she certainly keeps herself busy between chasing bunnies in the courtyard, interacting with students, and watching out for the newest addition to the Martin family. Martin and her husband, also a resident tutor in Leverett G Tower, recently had a baby. Martin said that lately, Bailey, “will come and get us if the baby is crying. If she doesn’t think we’re responding quick enough, she’ll run in and look at us.” This is Bailey’s way of demonstrating how much she loves her new sibling. Though Martin said she was initially worried Bailey would have trouble “figuring out what to make of the baby,” it seems the two are on their way to being great friends. While Bailey is well-trained and can do all the standard tricks, like fetch and ball play, Martin said Bailey’s attention to the new baby is “her best new trick.” It certainly speaks to how strong of an emotional bond dogs are able to form.

Outside her duties as a baby watcher, Bailey loves to swim. One of Martin’s favorite memories with Bailey on family trips are the visits to her parents at their home on Cape Cod.

“She loves to swim. She’s perpetually launching herself into the ocean after a ball, and then swimming back until she’s so tired she could drown, but would still never stop. It’s her happy place.”

Bailey 2
Though her favorite place might be the salty waters, Bailey loves being part of the Leverett House community. As a friendly, people-oriented dog, she adjusted well to the transition from living in a suburban neighborhood to living in a dorm with students. The only minor hiccup was that before coming to Harvard, Bailey became accustomed to barking when someone came to the door.

At the time, Martin said this “was not very annoying, but actually a desirable skill to have.” Moving to Leverett changed that for the Martins. “Now, where we live, students will knock at our door more frequently, or 30 students will come for a study break. We’re trying to teach her that she doesn’t need to bark when every student enters our room,” said Martin, “That’s probably the hardest thing, we haven’t quite mastered it yet.”

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Bailey 3

Pets of Harvard: Beam

Beam 2
How majestic!
Tucked away off of Plympton St. lies Randolph Courtyard, a favorite spot among Adams residents and all members of the Harvard community both for its prime Carpe-hosting capabilities and sweet scenery. If you hang around the courtyard long enough, you might just be lucky enough to see the normally peaceful space disrupted by a certain boisterous German Shepard named Beam. Flyby sat down with Beam’s human, Adams House resident tutor William Burke, to get the details on the dog that brings the courtyard to life.

Beam hails from Scranton, Pa., where she lived with her nine other brothers and sisters before joining Burke in Cambridge. When Burke first encountered Beam, he found what one might expect from a litter of puppies meeting a stranger: lots of playing, tumbling, barking, and general excitedness from the bunch — except for Beam, who was snoozing happily in a corner. Also unlike her siblings, Beam was the only pup with long hair, despite both her parents being shorthaired dogs.

“I guess there’s always a non-zero chance,” Burke says of Beam’s unique hair, laughing. “She was, like, the weirdo of the litter.”

Still, Burke thought that this sweet little “weirdo” would be a perfect fit for life on campus, and took her home.

From there, they faced perhaps the biggest dilemma of any pet owner: what to name their new companion. Of course, there were some basic criteria to guide their choice. Burke wanted to choose a name related to architecture. It also had to be a single syllable “so that it would be easy to shout,” Burke notes. In the end, Beam won out over their other top choices, “Roof” and “Eave.” However, don’t be fooled. The German Shepard’s full registered name isn’t just beam, but rather “Simply Supported Honeymoon Beam.”.

Beam 1
Surely a better mascot than the acorn
In her two years at Harvard, Beam has become a staple of the Adams House community. “Every hour is puppy office hours!” Burke laughs, looking over at Beam, who is deep in a game of chase with her pal and fellow Randolph canine, Opie. Beam is also a big fan of outdoor yoga, which is one of the programs Burke runs for students as a Wellness Tutor. Beam’s presence, however, may not exactly be conducive to tapping into a zen state, as she loves to lick students’ faces as they stretch. Energetic yoga interruptions aside, Burke maintains that Beam is an extremely good-natured dog.

“She grew up around 470 college students since she got here, she’s never known anything else. You could set off fireworks, or thunder, nothing fazes her. She just lies on the couch. She might, like, lift an eyebrow,” Burke said.

Beam certainly is not a small dog, but she genuinely enjoys living in a dorm. Burke chalks it up to the fact that dogs “like having a den,” and says that she actually got into the routine of living at Adams so quickly that they stopped crate training her a few months early. Despite her love of her cozy home with the Burkes, there’s rarely a day when you can’t spot Beam outside, rain or shine. So, keep your eyes peeled if you’re anywhere near Adams, and maybe even consider rerouting your walk to cut through the Randolph courtyard — you might just see Adams House’s very own German Shepherd!

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Pets of Harvard: Oshie the Corgi

Oshie Posing
According to Leverett House tutor and Oshie’s owner, John L. Pulice ’15, Leverett students are “big fans” of the new corgi in the house. Of course, a “corgi puppy is a strong attraction” in any house community, but especially in Leverett, where the corgis of the Georgi’s (former Faculty Deans Howard M. Georgi ’68 and Ann B. Georgi) were unofficial mascots.

Pulice says students have asked if Oshie is “the replacement corgi.” Not intentionally, Pulice said, but he was very recently welcomed to Leverett House. Pulice got Oshie, who traveled all the way from Missouri by car to get to Cambridge, last spring when Oshie was nine weeks old. Oshie is fully grown now, weighing in at around 20 pounds, but at 10 months old, he is still a puppy.

Pulice, who grew up with a golden retriever, didn’t set out to get a corgi, but for the size of a tutor suite and a Ph.D. student lifestyle, Oshie was “the right size and the right temperament.”

On how Oshie got his adorable name, Pulice confirmed that Oshie is an homage to the Washington Capitals player T.J. Oshie. Pulice is from the D.C. Metro area, and identifies as “a really big Capitals fan,” so Oshie seemed like the perfect reference to a favorite Caps player, especially after the team’s 2018 Stanley Cup win. Plus, “‘Oshie the corgi’ kind of rolls off the tongue.”

Oshie with stick 2
Oshie’s favorite spot on campus is probably the fenced-in Leverett courtyard, which is essentially his backyard. There he enjoys playing with other students and Leverett house dogs, like Kepler the black lab. According to Pulice, Oshie is well-behaved and well-trained … now. He used to have a “very bad understanding of the fact that the hallway was still inside. He would get right to the door of my suite and then he’d start pooping in front of the door. He was like ‘It’s still outside!’ and I was like ‘No it’s not.’” He hasn’t had accidents in a while though,” Pulice said. We’re so proud of Oshie’s progress!

Oshie Walking
Oshie is a tri-corgi, which means that beyond being triply cute, he has red, white, and black coloring. If you need any help spotting him on campus, look for a signature white spot on his brow. “It’s his little unique signifier,” says Pulice.

If you’re lamenting the fact that you have yet to get quality time with Oshie, fear not: Pulice runs the Leverett House website, and says an online sign-up for time with Oshie is in the works. “The plan is to have a walking schedule.” So stay tuned Lev students! The rest of us are certainly a bit jealous of your new corgi mascot.

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage!

Oshie with a stick

Pets of Harvard: Boris

Pets of Harvard Boris in a house
Few can say they’ve spent most of their life at Harvard. Boris the Cat, however, is one of them. Boris Vanderbilt Threlkeld has been a resident of Adams House with his owner Aubry Threlkeld for more than nine years — and for a cat that is now just 10 years old, this is quite an accomplishment.

Threlkeld first began searching for a furry friend of his own when he moved to Adams as a new tutor. “My roommate prior to moving here had cats, and I really liked having them around,” he said. Threlkeld headed to the Animal Rescue League of Boston with the goal of getting a kitten. However, it was there that he met Boris, a “17-pound, long-haired Maine Coon” who climbed right into his lap the first day he met him, and the rest is history.

While Threlkeld admittedly planned to come up with a more creative name for his new companion, the shelter had given him the name Boris and it just stuck. “I said, ‘You look like a Boris, I’m gonna have to keep you named Boris!’”

A true Adams cat, Boris gained his middle name from his time living in the Vanderbilt Suite in Westmorely. And despite being “really afraid of the outside,” he’s done a fair amount of exploring while students are away, even making it all the way to the Adams House library during J-Term one year.

While Boris has never been a big fan of large groups, he still enjoys being an “ambassador” of sorts when any students come to visit. “He’ll come out and want to meet everybody, especially if they’re quiet, but then he wants to go back to his own life,” explained Threlkeld. And while Boris no longer holds office hours like he did during his first few years in Adams, he’s still in high demand from students eager for a chance to babysit or even just feed him.

Pets of Harvard Boris
Boris knows how to strike a pose for the camera.

If Threlkeld were to describe Boris in one word, it would undoubtedly be “food-motivated.” One of Threlkeld’s favorite memories of Boris is from when they were in his first room in Adams. “I wasn’t really used to having cats around, so I put a big bag of dry food at the top of a set of shelves,” remembers Threlkeld. “I heard a crash at like 3 a.m. — he had climbed all the way to the very top of the shelves and knocked over the whole bag of dried food!” He’s also not afraid to wake up everyone else in the area to make sure he gets his breakfast early in the morning, earning him the nickname of the “kitty alarm clock.”

For Threlkeld, one of the best parts of adopting Boris was learning more about the Animal Rescue League of Boston where he rescued him from. “They had a very good strong sense of the cats and try to match you really well to a pet,” Threlkeld said. “I think if people are ever looking to adopt, it’s so important to adopt a rescue!”

More than anything, Threlkeld has loved having a cat around campus and has even been considering adopting another kitten. For the time being, though, Boris enjoys being in the spotlight — this will actually be his second time in The Crimson, after being photographed for the holiday season nearly seven years ago

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage

Pets of Harvard: Fox and Moose

Pets of Harvard Fox and Moose
Have you ever seen a cat on a leash? If not, you probably haven’t met Moose and Fox, the two newest animal residents of Pfoho. Moose, a two-year-old ragdoll cat, and Fox, an about six-month-old domestic longhair, belong to Jennifer Kunes ’19, a House Elf (a recent graduate who contributes to house events and community) in Pfoho. Moose and Fox got their names because Kunes is a “big fan of naming animals the names of other animals.”

Kunes adopted Moose on the Fourth of July. This stud is a Ragdoll cat (pretty fancy, as far as cats go), but his breeder wasn’t a fan of the offspring he was producing, so Kunes got him for free! Fox, on the other hand, is from a shelter in Rhode Island.

Pets of Harvard Moose
Moose chilling on a windowsill.

Kunes never saw herself as a cat person; “I grew up with really big dogs… my family dog is a black lab.” However, a cat seemed like the perfect pet to fit her sometimes unpredictable schedule, and Kunes noted, “I still do walk [the cats] but you don’t have to walk them twice a day… they’re way more self sufficient [than dogs].”

So how did Kunes end up with not one, but two cats? She just wanted Moose to be happy, noting that “after the first month I realized that... [Moose] seemed very bored and I felt bad leaving him when I had to go to work.” Looking to spice up Moose’s everyday life, Kunes talked to her vet, who suggested that Kunes add a kitten to the family. As soon as Fox arrived, the two cats took to each other almost immediately, and, according to Kunes, “Moose straight up acts like he’s Fox’s father.” During this interview, Fox was tearing around Comstock common room, knocking over lamps and scrambling up the furniture. Moose followed, keeping an eye on his young charge, while also ensuring he made his rounds back to Kunes for treats.

Not only do these cats walk on leash, but Moose also does tricks. He knows how to sit, lay down, and even stand on his hind legs to grab a treat. Kunes has high hopes for training Moose, explaining, “I want to teach Moose to balance a treat on his nose.” As for Fox, well, “Fox… can’t really do anything,” admitted Kunes.

While Moose is a morning cuddler, he has another way he likes to start the day. “Moose has a huge thing for my hair. He really likes to eat my hair, so if I go to sleep with my hair down, I’ll wake up in the morning to him consuming my hair”, explained Kunes. Fox, on the other hand, is “the problem child.” Kunes said she understands when “parents are like this one, this is the troublemaker.” Fox enjoys unravelling entire rolls of toilet paper across Kunes’s room and then shredding it. He also enjoys eating psets. Yes, you read that right. With Kunes as a TF, “my cat ate your homework” could be the very real reason you’re not getting your pset back. “There are definitive claw marks on some people’s homework when I hand it back,'' laughed Kunes.

Although she’s only had the cats for a few months, Kunes said her favorite memory of the two of them was when Moose noticed Fox was having trouble grooming himself, and “took him under his wing and showed [Fox] how to groom himself.” After a while, Fox caught on, and after dinner he’d watch Moose and “they’d sit side by side cleaning their faces.”

Pets of Harvard Fox with a fence
Fox figuring out fences.

When asked what the cats would study as Harvard students, Kunes considered the pair, then said: “Moose would be like Philosophy. I feel like Moose is dignified like that. What would Fox be? Folk-Myth? Is that offensive to Folk-Myth people?”

Ultimately, Kunes wants people to know that her cats “are just so cute” and that having cats has significantly changed her lifestyle. Having cats forces her to “establish boundaries for myself in terms of how much time I’m spending at home, which I don’t usually do for myself, but I think is healthy.” For example, with the cats, she said she “can’t just stay out until midnight and not come home because then they’ll miss dinner.”

Moose and Fox are pretty social cats, so Kunes holds cat office hours by appointment. If you need some kitten time, all three of them would love for you to stop by.

Click here to head back to the Pets of Harvard homepage

Quiz: Which MAC Workout Class Are You?

Malkin Athletic Center
Whether your go-to workout spot is the Malkin Athletic Center, Hemingway, or the walk from the Quad, the MAC offers free classes for students that are worth trying out. But before you blindly enter into a total body conditioning class you were not prepared for, take this quiz to find out which workout class best fits your vibe:

1) What time do you get up in the morning?

A) 6 a.m.

B) 8 a.m.

C) 10 a.m.

D) It’s different every day

2) What does your ideal Saturday night look like?

A) Getting ahead on the readings for next week

B) Trying out a new restaurant in Boston with friends

C) Watching Netflix

D) Partying even if it means you have to go to the Quad

3) What is your go-to snack?

A) Protein bar

B) Yogurt parfait

C) Chips

D) Literally anything I love food

4) What is your most-used social media platform?

A) Social media is a waste of time

B) Instagram

C) I scroll through Facebook and Instagram once a day

D) Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and LinkedIn — the works

5) How do you choose an outfit?

A) Carefully plan it the night before based on the projected forecast

B) Pick a cute matching fit because I know I have class with my section crush

C) Jeans go with everything

D) All my clothes are cool, so I’ll look good no matter what I pair together


Mostly A’s — Total Body Conditioning

You do not mess around when it comes to the workout grind. You like to challenge yourself to the max with a strict program, and you can handle whatever moves the instructor throws your way.

Mostly B’s — Yoga

You’re all about maintaining your aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t ready to break a sweat in the name of health and wellness.

Mostly C’s — Zumba

You’re just here for a good time. Working on your fire body roll and laughing at how ridiculous you and your friends look are the perfect ways to get in some exercise.

Mostly D’s — Individual Workout

You make your own rules, and your workout routine is no exception. Why would you want some stranger yelling at you to “set the tone for the week” when you can be using a fancy elliptical as you listen to your curated Spotify playlist?

Love it or Hate it: Veritaffles

Waffle Breakfast
The brunch experience isn’t complete without trying a Veritaffle at least once, but not everyone is here for the Veritaffle experience

Love It: Veritaffles for Life — Emily H. Nguyen

What better way to start your Sunday than with a waffle that reminds you what school you go to? Being able to say that you made your own breakfast is also an added plus. There’s no reason to drop an extra $10 on avocado toast when you can get a free waffle every Sunday. Waiting in line to make your waffle is justified by the fact that you made it yourself, so your food actually looks good and appetizing for once.

Let’s not forget about the Veritas seal itself — there’s nothing that screams Harvard more than eating a waffle with a Harvard crest. Nothing beats the Veritas flex you can force on your family and loyal Instagram followers. Let’s not forget the lovely conversations you can have while waiting in line and meeting fellow Veritaffle fans — you can’t get all of that from the standard french toast and pancakes. Veritaffles are reserved for that Sunday slump, and the sugar from the waffle sweetens an otherwise bitter day.

Hate it: Veritaffle more like Verit-awful — Janani Sekar

Every Sunday, you wake up dreading the fact that weekend is almost over and you’ve put off all those psets. You make your way to the dhall hoping to eat a nice, quiet breakfast, only to find that the Veritaffle irons are out along with everything that sucks about them.

The biggest problem with Veritaffles is the line, especially in Annenberg. You know it’s Sunday when you walk into the dhall and can’t see past everyone waiting for their Veritaffle. They’ve been there for 40 minutes. Just get toast or Apple Zings — it’s just not worth being that hungry.

If you’re lucky enough to make a Veritaffle, you’ll realize it’s not worth the hype. Waffles are the online dating version of breakfast food — they seem great from far away and then just don’t live up to your expectations. And fine, maybe it’s exciting because the Veritaffle is a fancy take on the normal square waffle pattern, but you’re going to cover it with syrup and whipped cream anyway so does it really matter?

If you’re not yet convinced that Veritaffles are a breakfast food worthy of scorn, think about how obnoxious they are. Harvard merch is everywhere already, so is it really necessary to see it on a waffle too? At least a T-shirt or a lanyard lasts longer than 15 minutes.

Essentials to Bring Back from Thanksgiving Break

Retrospective Turkey
While Boston may be a short T ride away, the omnipresent Harvard bubble is rarely popped. For those few times throughout the school year when you have the opportunity to go home, you definitely need to make the most of it. So if you’re heading home for Thanksgiving, what should you bring back with you?

Winter Clothes

While many students will only be on campus for a few more weeks after Thanksgiving before leaving again for winter break, there’s no underestimating what damage the Boston winter can do in that short period of time (and in the “spring” semester!). Be sure to swap out that summer wardrobe with more fitting winter attire like scarves, sweaters, parkas, hats, and gloves. Though Remy and the Harvard turkeys are seemingly immune to the cold, you most certainly are not. Layer up!

Gifts for Friends

Don’t let your post-Thanksgiving blues distract you from the fact that it’s finally the holiday season! While you’re home, consider taking the time to prepare something thoughtful for the people that have made this past semester that much better. You likely won’t have the time once your gcal becomes packed with detailed study schedules, so jump on those Black Friday deals to check this off your to-do list now.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sure, HUDS has made efforts to step up its game in terms of menu variety and creativity, but nothing beats home-cooked meals or Thanksgiving leftovers. Be sure to invest in some sturdy tupperware — and maybe a bigger suitcase — to maximize your food packing abilities. If you’re going to be suffering during finals season, you might as well have some of your mom’s homemade dumplings to keep you company.

Your Sanity

Those few days of Thanksgiving break are sure to fly by, and when you come back you’ll be diving headfirst into the reading period. Make sure you really take that time to relax with your loved ones and recharge while you can. If not, Primal Scream is always an option to release that pent-up tension from the semester before you take up permanent residence in Lamont.

Regardless of whether or not you’re going home during Thanksgiving break, treat yourself to some well-deserved down time and an abundance of good food. Just a few more weeks, and then you’ll be on your way home for winter break faster than you can say “pass the stuffing”.

Should You Skip Classes and Go Home the Monday and Tuesday After Harvard-Yale

Should you Zoom Zoom Monday and Tuesday?
Even if Harvard-Yale is your favorite time of the year (because what else is better than freezing in New Haven?), what’s even more fun is going home for Thanksgiving. This year, with the game and the holiday being so close together, should you skip your Monday and Tuesday classes to maximize your time at home, or are you better off trekking back to Massachusetts and waiting a few more days before you can eat a nice, home cooked meal? Use our flowchart to determine whether you should just zoom zoom!

A Harvard Student's Guide to Football

While Harvard students have many strengths, understanding football is not one of them. As Harvard-Yale — the one football game Harvard students attend — approaches, a guide to watching and understanding the sport is necessary to make sure we don’t embarrass ourselves (and end up being ridiculed on SportsCenter). So here are a few basic things we should all know.

Offense vs. Defense

This is really basic, but on offense we are trying to score, and on defense we are trying to stop them from scoring. You can tell what we are currently doing by paying close attention (unlikely, but an effective method), or just by looking at the scoreboard. Whoever has the lit up ball next to their name is on offense.


Offensive positions to know:

The quarterback: throws or hands off the ball and tells everyone else what they should be doing.

The wide receivers catch the ball the quarterback throws.

The running backs get handed the ball and run it towards the end zone (where we need to go to score a touchdown).

Defensive positions to know:

It’s not important that you know any names, since defenders are all just trying to tackle

people as quickly as possible.


Touchdown: A player on the offensive team puts the ball in the end zone — six points.

Kick (Point After Touchdown): After a touchdown, the kicker can kick the ball through the big yellow posts — one point.

Two-Point Conversion: After a touchdown, the team that just scored can choose to run/throw the ball into the end zone — two points.

Field Goal: when a team kicks in between the yellow posts, not after a touchdown — three points.

Safety: when the ball carrier is tackled in their own end zone — two points (unlikely to happen though).

Downs (Structure of the Game)

The offensive team has four downs (tries) to move 10 yards. Everytime they move 10 or more yards, they reset to a first down (cheer when this happens!). After the fourth down (last try), possession of the ball is given to the other team wherever on the field the ball sits. So, on fourth down, the offensive team will usually punt (kick) the ball away to move the other team farther from the end zone. This means third down is the most important one, so you should cheer loudly if the other team has a long way to go on third down.


If you see a yellow flag on the field, someone did something wrong. Listen to the referee to see who it was and who is being punished.


One football minute does not equal one real life minute — in fact, it’s not even close. The game is going to take a while, so enjoy yourself. Maybe try to figure out what is going on with Harvard’s band as a side activity.

If you know all of this, you should be able to follow the game enough to avoid embarrassing yourself. If you get confused, just watch the cheerleaders, who are sober and paying attention to what’s going on, not to mention incredibly entertaining. And remember, we want the most points (this isn’t golf) so we can storm the field at the end of the game.

The Definitive Guide to Harvard-Yale Transportation

Harvard-Yale Petition
The Game is coming up fast, but let’s be honest: The real nail-biter isn’t seeing who gets the most touchdowns — it’s seeing who can survive the never-ending logistical mess of even getting there in the first place. Luckily, we’re here to help with at least one portion of your logistical woes: transportation. Check out some of the most popular routes we’ve found to get you to New Haven.

The Classic: HSA Bus

Organized by HSA and publicized by the College, these shuttles are the classic route to get you to New Haven. With a cost of $58, these may be a little more expensive than you’d hope for, but this does cover both to and from Yale, and are SEF eligible. These are also great for convenience, as you can buy tickets right from the Smith Campus Center Box Office. Pick a time that works best for you, and leave right from the Science Center! Just make sure to buy tickets ASAP, and bring along a pair of earbuds for that 2-3 hour bus ride.

The Alternative: Some Other Bus Service

With the experience of an HSA bus but for at least slightly cheaper, you can also try another bus service like Greyhound or Boltbus. Make sure to buy these ASAP as the best times are quickly selling out, but they can be another great transportation option (especially if you’re looking to get away from a bus full of just Harvard students).

The Speedy: Train

Perfect for those who hate the evening traffic that we’ll inevitably encounter getting to and from Yale, the train can be a nice speedy alternative. While it will likely set you back between $150 and $250 (in the case of Amtrak), it has plenty of times to choose from and can make your ride a little more comfortable.

The Independent: Zipcar

For those wanting a little more flexibility in their plans, a Zipcar can also be a good option. You’ll want to make sure to sign up for an account ahead of time, but if you already have one you should be all set to rent a car near campus. It’ll cost you somewhere between $100 and $200 depending on the type of car you get and how long you rent it for, but get some friends to join you for a road trip to help make that price a little more manageable. Don’t forget about parking!

The Energy-Efficient: Walking

Will it take you nearly two days to get there? Perhaps. However, consider how much energy you’ll save by choosing this fun scenic route! We’re always being told to slow down and smell the roses, so take this advice to heart and truly savor those 136 miles between here and New Haven.

Older →